Plumbiferous Media

Wait for Me - Moby

Jul 5th 2009
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Wait for Me - MobyMoby
Wait for Me
Score: 96

Moby (real name Richard Melville Hall) has been mak­ing music for over 20 years, becom­ing increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar as time goes on. His music falls with­in the cat­e­go­ry of “elec­tron­ic,” but it is clear­ly influ­enced by a huge num­ber of oth­er music gen­res, from rock to spir­i­tu­al to folk to post-rock. His ninth LP, Wait for Me, record­ed in his bed­room stu­dio, excel­lent­ly dis­plays his musi­cal skill and creativity.

Moby’s work is often high­ly min­i­mal­ist, and as such, the music is not only found in the repet­i­tive strings of minia­ture melodies, but often more promi­nent­ly in the slight, but beau­ti­ful changes between each rep­e­ti­tion. On Wait for Me, Moby per­forms these changes well and just often enough that the nat­u­ral­ly repet­i­tive music nev­er even threat­ens to become unin­ter­est­ing. The detail evi­dent in every­thing Moby does instead pro­vides points of inter­est, and while some­times the per­cus­sive sounds become a lit­tle odd, the strings and gui­tar are always used perfectly.

But while every track can eas­i­ly be con­sid­ered excel­lent, the track that most clear­ly demon­strates Moby’s musi­cal knowl­edge is “Stock Radio,” which begins with a sin­gle tone that fades in and out. The har­mon­ics the tone nat­u­ral­ly cre­ates become grad­u­al­ly more appar­ent, and Moby begins to play with the har­mon­ics, draw­ing them into their own pseu­do-melodies, and the utter­ly sim­ple track becomes incred­i­bly beau­ti­ful. “Scream Pilots” also demon­strates Moby’s musi­cal skill by using two gui­tar lines that play expert­ly off one anoth­er. Final­ly, although the sec­ond to last track could have worked as a per­fect end­ing to the album, it is fol­lowed by “Iso­late,” which is the only track of the album to use pitch bend­ing as one of the impor­tant points of interest.

Each of the vocal lines on Wait for Me is imbued with the same unearth­ly qual­i­ty as the music itself, cre­at­ing a ful­ly immer­sive, ethe­re­al sound. On the tracks where they exist, the expert­ly craft­ed vocals inter­twine with the melodies, rather than dis­tract the lis­ten­er from the rest of the music. The man­ner in which this occurs varies some­what between the vocal­ists - but each, from the airy sound of “Divi­sion” to the ora­tor of “Study War,” is expert­ly twist­ed into the music in a beau­ti­ful­ly cohe­sive way. Sev­er­al of the vocal lines approach a spir­i­tu­al-like aes­thet­ic, while Moby’s own voice on tracks such as “Mis­take” seems clos­er to rock music. On Wait for Me, Moby has used his con­sid­er­able expe­ri­ence to make all of these vocal lines fit togeth­er in an emi­nent­ly mas­ter­ful manner.

Though much of Wait for Me is instru­men­tal, the parts which do include lyrics exhib­it the same amount of care as is put into the rest of the album. The lyri­cal lines large­ly rely upon rep­e­ti­tion, but as both the con­tent of the lines them­selves and their sound has obvi­ous­ly been care­ful­ly con­sid­ered, the over­all effect from this rep­e­ti­tion is quite good, such that, as in much of Moby’s ear­li­er work, the lyrics serve as both an exten­sion of the music and as a musi­cal line itself. From the impas­sioned requests to “Put me on the train / Send me back to my home” to the descrip­tion of a lover as “So pale, so love­ly / Your eyes black like ice,” the lyrics of Wait for Me add an addi­tion­al lay­er of emo­tion to an already sub­lime­ly emo­tion­al album.

One of the most excep­tion­al­ly bril­liant ele­ments of Wait for Me is Moby’s incor­po­ra­tion of many gen­res into the album, and even mul­ti­ple gen­res into sin­gle tracks. While the album obvi­ous­ly has its min­i­mal­ist ground­ing and notice­able clas­si­cal influ­ence, the album con­tains far more than just those two gen­res. “Shot in the Back of the Head“ ‘s drum and gui­tar lines push the track towards a post-rock feel, while “Walk with Me” retains its spir­i­tu­al influ­ence. Though “Mis­take” begins with strings, it lat­er chan­nels rock heav­i­ly. And while the title track has ele­ments that belong to both folk and spir­i­tu­al, the end uses per­cus­sion that some­how makes the track begin to sound industrial.

But even through mul­ti­ple gen­res, tracks always tran­si­tion into each oth­er per­fect­ly, always pro­vid­ing a wel­come con­trast while at the same time nev­er cre­at­ing too jar­ring a change. On Wait for Me, Moby has writ­ten excel­lent tran­si­tions, excel­lent melodies and lines, has rec­og­nized that vocals do not always need to be present (or when present, the most impor­tant line), and has used what amount to sim­ple lyrics on a very com­plex album amaz­ing­ly. Wait for Me may not be absolute­ly per­fect, but it cer­tain­ly got very close.

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